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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

SOUTH AMERICA

One thing I know for sure. . .God sends some of us out into the world to see and experience His wonderful creation. And most important, to share His love with those from different countries and cultures. Travel is as much about the people you meet as the sights you see.

"For God so loved the world. . ." John 3:16

      I will continue my "Ten Most Important Things I Know About God" blogs when I get back home. 
      My husband and I have visited many countries, and we are grateful. However, this is the first time we have been in the Southern Hemisphere. What we see is not how different people and countries are from our own, but in many cases, how similar. People may speak a different language and live in a different part of the world, but be so much like us in wanting to live well, be at peace, love their family and country and experience God in a personal way.
      We arrived in Santiago, Chili two days ago after a very long flight from Los Angeles, California. I am sitting at a computer keyboard at a hotel in Santiago, Chili. How amazing that I can sit down at this computer, instantly find my blog, and be able to share with you. This is one of those days that I love technology.
      Our hotel is close to the business center of the city. As I sit here and look out the window I can see the tallest building in South America. Also, several beautiful new office buildings are in view. Last night, as the light begin to drain from a rusty pink sky, we could see pink-edged clouds reflected in the glass of these buildings. A sight to remember. A block away we can stroll through a lovely residential area at the foot of the Andes Mountains. All my life I have heard of the Andes and can hardly believe I am actually looking at them.
      Every year my husband and I say we are going to learn the Spanish language - it shouldn't be too difficult and we certainly could use it in own community of San Diego, California. But, here we are in a Spanish speaking country and only know a few words. However, we find we are able to communicate well and those here who are trying to learn English appreciate having someone to speak with.
      From our hotel, we can walk across a couple of complicated intersections, over a bridge, and be in a most amazing mall, Costanera Center, in the Providencia area of the city. The economy here must be healthy and vibrant in order to support such a massive shopping and eating area. No one looks at us, we do not stand out as being foreign - well, maybe my blond hair makes me a bit different. Many only speak their Spanish language. Every kind of food in the world must be available here. We find the American type restaurants like Applebees, Hard Rock Cafe and of course all the fast food places as well as unique foods and restaurants.
     We walked with our guide for what seemed like miles yesterday and were too tired to go out for dinner last night. We had a wonderful meal on the patio of our hotel, just the two of us alone on the patio, quiet, romantic. We thank the Lord for these magical moments, just the two of us in our own world.
      There are a lot of cars in Santiago; the majority appear to be newer models. This is a city of five million people, and  there is so much traffic. During our tour of the downtown area, we visited a huge Catholic Cathedral that had been rebuilt five times after earthquakes destroyed it. It's a Friday afternoon and the church is filled with many local people who are there to pray and listen to a message from the priest. On the ceiling over the large altar there is a beautiful painting of Jesus holding a lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God - John 1:29
      How beautifully the Scripture comes alive. All through the Old Testament, the people of God sacrificed a lamb to gain His favor. Then, at the appointed time, God came to earth to be the Lamb of sacrifice - Jesus. Now, we no longer need to shed blood to please God. We simply worship the One God sent. . .John 6:28 - 29.
      One of the highlights of this visit to Chili was visiting the home of the poet, Pablo Neruda. We were told he kept company with other creative people like Marcel Marceau, and Picasso. They were drinking buddies, maybe high on drugs at times, politically active, and gifted. Neruda had some problems because of his politics, he was a Communist, and had to escape to Italy and Argentina. He wrote such beautiful poetry - painted pictures with words. His poetry has lasted, his political views have been forgiven by most. Our guide Leo told us that there are still problems with Communists who demonstrate in Santiago, and some think Neruda was poisoned because of his beliefs. 
      We have discovered during our roamings around the globe, how important politics is to a country and its people. Good politics can make people secure, confident and ultimately successful. Bad politics will tear down both a country and its people and leave them insecure and fearful. So much of our Bible is about the politics of the day and the good and bad that came because of the political system. Chili was ruled by Spain for 300 years. They fought for their independence and have become one of the most capitalistic, successful countries in South America. A pleasure to visit here. As upsetting as politics can be, I understand that God never loses His control and everything that happens, happens for a reason. . .Romans 13:1.
      We are looking forward to our tour tomorrow when a guide will drive us to Valparaiso on the coast. We will make a stop in Isla Negro to visit a museum and another home of Neruda. He had three wives during his lifetime, and three homes. This one is where he and his last wife are buried. The view from this property that sits high on a bluff overlooking the sea is indescribably beautiful. No wonder Neruda was inspired to write such lovely poetry.
      Our final destination tomorrow will be the Star Princess Cruise ship. We will spend sixteen days cruising North to the port in Los Angeles, not far from our home. Along the way, we will visit several more countries - Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico. We look forward to this cruise and have learned that the Lord always has a purpose for our adventures. We constantly think of our family back home - they seem so far away.

     Lord, we thank you for this opportunity to travel and see this fantastic world you have created. We are always willing to share your love with anyone you bring us. Please keep us healthy and safe as we cruise thousands of miles toward home.